The Bellingham Whatcom County Commission Against Domestic Violence is teaming up with Verizon Wireless and the county sheriff and police chief association to put cell phones in the hands of domestic violence victims.
Businesses around the county are collecting used cell phones that will be sent to Verizon Wireless, which will remove all personal information from the phones and add call minutes. The phones will then be redistributed to local domestic violence advocacy groups, who will give them to victims who need a phone for their safety. Donated phones can be any carrier or brand, old or new, working or not.
The Hopeline Campaign, as it’s called, is a competition for counties statewide. A $10,000 grant from Verizon is up for grabs, and Whatcom County won the grant in its first year of participation in 2011. Whatcom County residents donated more than 1,500 cell phones; more than those collected by the Los Angeles Police Department.
If Whatcom County brings home the grant again this year, the commission plans to use it to continue offering victim advocacy services in the county’s smaller cities.
Phone collection has started and will run until June 15. For a list of collection sites, visit www.dvcommission.org/cellphones. If you would like to participate in the campaign as a collection site for cell phones, contact Susan Marks at email@example.com or 360/312-5700, ext. 202.